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Hotspur dismisses Hal contemptuously as “The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales”. How would you assess Hal’s character as it develops during the play?

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Hotspur dismisses Hal contemptuously as "The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales". How would you assess Hal's character as it develops during the play? Hal, whose real name is Harry, is introduced to us by his father as a rebellious royal in his conversation with Westmoreland, "....See riot and dishonour stain the brow of my young Harry" This conversation also sees the King speak enviously of Lord Northumberland. "Mak'st me sad and mak'st me sin in envy that my Lord Northumberland should be father to so blest a son" This is comparing King Henry's son Hal with Lord Northumberland's son "The gallant Hotspur". Hotspur, or Henry Percy to use his real name, is a well-respected and brave soldier and is heavily like by the king. Immediately in Act 1 Scene 1 we see examples of praise towards Hotspur, "A son who is the theme of honour's tongue". King Henry even goes as far as saying he wishes that Hotspur were his son instead of Hal. "Some night-tripping fairy had exchanged our children where they lay." Henry is very disappointed of what his son has so far made of himself. We are yet to meet Hal but we are given our first and most important impression of Hal as this image of Hal will lead us to believe Hal really is a lay-about throughout the play and bias our thoughts. ...read more.


. This light-hearted atmosphere remains as Falstaff arrives with his band of merry men looking worse for wear. Poins' prediction comes true as Falstaff proceeds to tell and exaggerated and ever changing story of the robbery that took place. Falstaff believes "Eleven buckram men grown out of two!" Hal does however come forward and admits to being the instigator of this event. Hal asks "what trick hast thou now?" as he knows Falstaff will reply with an excuse. This shows just how much fun Hal as by teasing Falstaff. Hal's absolute lack of care for his responsibilities come to light when a royal messenger appears who demands the Prince of Wales' presents in the royal court the next morning. Falstaff teases Hal about the seriousness of the news that Mortimer, Worcester and Hotspur are going to attack the king's men. Hal throws "Art thou not horribly afraid" back at Falstaff, as he calmly replies "Not a whit". To emphasise this Hal and Falstaff act out the meeting between father and son. The comedy pair take this opportunity to insult eachother even further. The act is interrupted by a knock on the door and it is the local sheriff who is in search of Falstaff and the others. ...read more.


Hal's next statement is a promise in which he declares he will "redeem all this on Percie's head....be bold to tell you that I am your son, when I will wear a garment all of blood and stain my favours in a bloody mask which, washed away, will scour my shame with it.......and that shall be the day ....the gallant Hotspur , this all-praised knight and your unthought-of Harry chance to meet." This is, in my opinion, the point where Hal dies and The Prince of Wales is born because The Prince understands the extend at which he has let his father down and is setting out to prove that he is worthy of his name he feels that to prove he has changed he must defeat the rebels and prove that he is not "the nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales" and his is indeed the heir to the thrown and will become a worthy king. He swears that if he breaks this promises he "will die a thousand deaths" showing the sincerity of his promise. Hotspur and company are preparing for battle. Hotspur asks Vernon about Hal and is furious when he finds out that "the madcap Prince" is "gallantly armed". This scene refers frequently to mythology. "feathered Mercury", "an Angel dropped down from the clouds to turn and wind a fiery Pegasus. ...read more.

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